|I'm really enjoying the section on Faith/Reason.|
I think you've really bent over backwards to present a fair representation of the importance of faith to those who have faith, without unduly denigrating faith.
But I say that as someone with little faith, to someone who I assume has little faith. I wonder how someone with faith would score your presentation?
"It is then argued that there must be some first cause that started the whole process, and of course that first cause is claimed to be God."
Rowlands, Joseph (2011). Morality Needs No God (p. 93). Joseph Rowlands. Kindle Edition.
The Universe, even as a quincunx game: who is dropping the balls, and/or who dropped the first ball?
We can, if we choose, readily blur 'explained by' with 'caused by', as, an actor, and then wonder about the existence of a 'first actor/creator.' And, many do. But that process is still as curious if we limit ourselves to cold process, with our bias that only actions cause future actions. Under such a bias as that, if we wonder about the logic of a 'first creator with no prior creator', than we are equally flummoxed by the concept of a 'first cold process with no causative prior process.'
Considerations of other dimensional universes, M-Brane collisions, etc., just kick this conundrum down the road.
Perhaps we are because we can be. Here is a hypothetical basis for a new faith: (RPM: Religion Per Minute)
No conservative laws are violated by the following:
A + -A = 0, even if A <> 0
That is two for the conservative price of none.
I call this the 'however many universes there are, there must be an even number of them' conservative rule, safely unverifiable for now.
I can't prove it. It's just that, to me, it seems more likely than to have just one such(or any odd number of such, including 1.
So what do we call the aggregate of all such? We can accurately call it both everything, and on a complete accounting basis, nothing.
Because to have just one of them seems to violate some fundamental conservative law, and leads us to the conclusion that something came from nothing, while the conclusion that two somethings (or, at least, an even number of somethings) came from nothing violates no known conservative law.
The verified existence of matter and anti-matter supports this idea.
A + -A = 0; No conundrum. Not 'something from nothing', but 'two somethings from nothing.'
Why do they exist? Because they can. It is no less accurate to ask 'who was to stop them' then it is to imagine 'who created them?'
Imagine matter and anti-matter constantly appearing ( A + -A = 0) and immediately obliterating itself; how much of a local random fluctuation in either the density of matter or anti-matter is needed for one or the other to (locally) dominate and result in some period of persistent 'matter' in what is a sea of only what we call energy? We observe conservation laws in things like energy and matter...with exceptions, and with Einsteins observed exchange rate between the two. So, which of these are violated by some period, over a local region, of either dominant matter or anti-matter? A local gradient, in the inevitable act of consuming itself, also observable in the universe. It is a stretch to think of 'matter' as 'condensed' energy in some fashion, but acts of pure faith are filled with stretch marks.
This local fluctuation, a dominance of either matter or anti-matter, would selectively destroy/police the local spontaneous creation of the minority half of matter/anti-matter. It implies, at the moment of the Big Bang, a symmetric fluctuation of dominant anti-matter mutually speeding away from the local fluctuation of dominant matter, to keep the accounting clean-- a separation 'powered' by the cataclysmic annihilation of matter-antimatter occurring in an asymmetric fashion at the heart of the Big Bang. Both Universes (A + -A) would be moving away from each other at a speed in excess of their rate of expansion, forever safely invisible to each other, and thus, unprovable to each other.
The result in each universe? Perplexing, seemingly impossible violations of the locally observed conservation laws, when pondering the safely hidden.
And so, believing any story like that would require a lot of faith.